Cheapie ratings: Best bargain buys to start Supercoach season

Tim Williams goes through all the relevant cheapie prospects to help find you the best bargain Supercoach bargain buys.


It’s finally time to reveal our NRL Supercoach cheapie analysis ratings for 2024.

They’re the most important part of your round 1 team, because if you can nail them early it’ll save inevitable trades to get them in straight away.

If you do a good enough job at picking the right money-makers, it can also help to avoid using an early boosts if you’re happy with how your team looks.

I’m always very reluctant to write this article too early in the pre-season, because to be frank, we have absolutely no idea about cheapies anytime before mid-February.

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We’ve now had two weekend of trials and four official NRL team lists to start the season.

This gives us a much clearer indication what round 1 teams will look like, and to state the obvious there’s still plenty of guess work that’s involved.

From the information we have, here’s my thoughts on the 2024 NRL cheapies, analysing them from the most owned players down.

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I’ve considered anyone under $350,000 a cheapie, which might be pushing the limit a bit, but there’s still plenty of cash to be made from a good player in the upper tier of that price bracket.

A few different factors come into the ratings, with job security being number one.

How assured is the respective player’s position in their team, and are they relatively locked into decent minutes in the case of a forward?

Dual positioning plays a big factor in deciding, and of course their scoring potential.

A player with more questionable job security might leap-frog up the list if they have the potential to be a strong scorer for your team, with Ben Trbojevic being a prime example of that.

Alternatively, a player might be locked into a utility bench spot long-term, but could be set to play 20 minutes per game and be entirely irrelevant, such as Jake Granville.

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Of course, price also comes into calculation, if you can save $100k from one cheapie to another they’ll be higher priority.

There will be players left off the list who will make bench spots, but I don’t see them playing a big enough role to make sufficient money.

Finally, if there’s a bigger write-up on certain players it’s because I’ve already written about them in greater detail in my squad analysis articles on our website which I’ve copied across.

I haven’t finished them all yet, so some player below will be in lesser detail or else you’d need to take the week off work to get through the article.

I’ve been very brief on the less relevant players, but will expand on this if they gain greater appeal for round 1.

If the ratings seem low, it’s because the cheapie crop isn’t looking great at this stage.

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Ordered by ownership % on Supercoach website

Ethan Strange (5/8-CTW, $238,900)

Firming to win the five-eighth role over Kaeo Weekes, looking like a great buy.

Also should rack up decent base, can bust a tackle, looks solid.

Cheapie rating: 9/10

Ben Trbojevic (CTW-2RF, $277,400)

Dual position, at just $277k, he’s hard to pass up despite obvious red flags.

He could quite easily start round 1, then be benched for Schuster by round 2 where he becomes a nightmare for owners.

But if it does appear that he could lock down an 80-minute role you’ve got potentially one of the cheapies of the year.

He’s currently priced on a 27 point average from 29 minutes per game last season.

Weighing up his Supercoach form to predict his output this season is very hard to do, because in his 26 career games he’s been mostly off the bench, and sometimes starting in the second-row or centre.

Not without risk, but one I’ll be picking regardless of getting the full 80 or not.

Cheapie rating: 8/10

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Samuel Hughes (FRF, $238,900)

Hughes was a standout from the trials, and with the Dogs lacking middle forward quality he could be set for decent minutes this season.

He’s locked into my round 1 team, but the big question is whether that’s in a starting 17 spot to save big money elsewhere, or if I just plug him in the reserves as a cash cow.

He looks like he has a strong motor on him, a nice offload, and some tacklebusting ability that can all hopefully aid his Supercoach output to be a potential starter if the minutes arrive.

Cheapie rating: 9/10

Bronson Xerri (CTW, $345,100)

Connor Tracey or Jacob Kiraz are more likely to partner Crichton at centre, however Xerri was rock solid in both trial hit outs.

His return after four years was fairly impressive, especially defensively, so he’ll be right in the frame for a round 1 spot.

He looks willing to take plenty of carries and we know the speed and strength he possesses to hopefully jag some attacking stats.

If he does get named in round 1 he looks a decent cheapie play but it’s unlikely.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

Kaeo Weekes (FLB-5/8, $273,400)

If named in round 1 he’s a decent pick, but I think Strange may have jumped him in the pecking order.

Even if starting, I’m not overly keen on his output or job security.

Cheapie rating: 1/10 or 5/10 if selected

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Viliami Fifita (2RF-FRF, $204,300)

Unlikely to get enough minutes with Luciano Leilua signing with the Dragons.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

Kayal Iro (CTW-FLB $219,900)

Unlikely to be selected unless Ramien or Talakai go down at the Sharks.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

Jed Cartwright (2RF-CTW, $238,900)

Not likely to be relevant as he’ll play a bench role at best for the Knights.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

Chevy Stewart (FLB-CTW, $204,300)

Not expected to get picked early in the season.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

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Spencer Leniu (FRF, $332,400)

Leniu has come onto the radar after being named to start for the Roosters in Vegas.

With Jared Waerea-Hargreaves out due to suspension, and Angus Crichton and Connor Watson missing the 17, the whole pack worries me.

Leniu averaged 33 points in 32 minutes off the bench at the Panthers, he’d need to be pushing 40 minutes to be relevant at the Roosters.

I’m not convinced he’ll remain a starter.

If he gets the minutes he could explode into Supercoach relevance, but I think I’d prefer watch this pack and the share of game time for the first two weeks then reassess.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Xavier Willison ($265,200)

Cheap, strong, and a solid buy to start the year.

In seven games last season he scored at a monstrous 1.53 points per minute, given it was only an average of 19 minutes per game.

To completely throw that out of whack though, he scored two tries with linebreaks in those games!

He should get more minutes with Flegler and Palasia gone, so he should be a solid buy with obvious risk.

Unfortunately, after getting named on the bench for the Vegas clash reports suggest Marty Taupau will replace him on game day.

Whether this is a permanent choice or a one-off for Vegas I have no idea, but it obviously hurts his buy rating significantly.

The rating below is based on him not playing, if he does play it’d be a 5 or a 6.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

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Brendan Hands ($342,300, HOK) and Joey Lussick ($313,700, HOK)

If Brad Arthur is true to his word and plays an 80-minute hooker we’re onto a winner in Supercoach.

Both Hands and Lussick are fighting for the role and are both in cheapie range.

Hands is priced on a 34 point average from 50 minutes of game time last season.

He averaged 55.8 in his five 80 minute games last season, with a solid 44.2 in base in those fixtures.

Lussick averaged 47 in his three 80 minute games last season for the Eels, with 44.6 in base.

His base scores were all over the shop with scores of 56, 35, and 43, so make sense of that what you will.

Regardless, I think if either player does get the sole role they’ll be a great back-up hooker pick, and potentially a starting option if going cheap.

*Rating based on one hooker being named, halve it if they’re both named.

Cheapie rating: 8/10*

Jack Bostock (CTW, $314,500)

Bostock looks to have won a wing spot at the Dolphins.

He played four games last season, averaging 39 points in that time with two tries to his name.

In three of his four games he had scores of just 21, 29 and 17 which is very ordinary.

The right edge of Isaako gets so much of the attacking ball which doesn’t help.

He’s also young though, so perhaps in his second season in the NRL he’ll up his base stats and produce some okay scoring.

There will be job security risk even if he is named, so probably only for me if there’s a lack of decent cheapies to start the season.

Cheapie rating: 5/10

Jaeman Salmon (2RF-CTW, $317,100)

Salmon looked good in both trials, I’m not convinced he’ll start though, and even if he does both output and minutes will be a concern.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Jayden Brailey (HOK, $330,000)

Injured and unlikely for any decent minutes early in the season.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

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Xavier Savage (FLB-CTW, $350,200)

Savage has by all reports blitzed the Raiders pre-season.

He’s an incredible talent with Supercoach potential, even on the wing, but I feel work rate will be an issue along with attacking opportunities on the flanks at the Raiders.

He’s awkwardly priced at $350k, so I’m happy to avoid and buy come round three if he starts with a bag of tries.

Cheapie rating: 5/10

Jacob Gagai (FLB-CTW, $204,300)

Gagai has come into contention after getting named on the wing for the Rabbitohs in Vegas.

He’s bottom dollar, but job security is a massive concern.

With Jack Wighton to return from suspension, and the likes of Taane Milne, Izaac Thompson and Tyrone Munro (injured) all lingering, I’m not convinced.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

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Morgan Smithies (2RF, $345,000)

Looks set for good minutes in the middle at the Raiders and will be the typical English workhorse.

Smithies looks a rock solid buy and play in 17s at least until Corey Horsburgh returns.

Hopefully in that time he can win a starting role and make us bank.

Cheapie rating: 8/10

Liam Henry (FRF, $238,900) & Mavrik Geyer (2RF, $204,300)

Both unlikely to be relevant early.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

Sua Fa’alogo ($339,000, FLB-CTW)

Not expected to get picked, lock and load if anything happens to Papenhuyzen.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

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Aidan Sezer (HFB-5/8, $345,000)

I’m not interested in Sezer unless he takes over the goal-kicking duties from Api Koroisau.

Despite the opportunity to plug a cheapie in the awkward 5/8 slot, I’m not convinced Sezer will produce enough to make decent cash.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Kane Bradley (CTW-2RF, $238,900)

I’ll be honest, I don’t know if trial bolter Bradley will start on the edge for the Storm in round 1 or for the Falcons in QLD Cup.

If starting, at the price with dual positioning he’ll be extremely hard to pass up despite the enormous job security concern.

Let’s reassess this one next Tuesday when we see the Storm team list.

Cheapie rating: No idea…

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Kyle Flanagan (5/8, $310,500)

Flanno looked quite good in the trial win over the Tigers, but the lack of goal-kicking is my concern.

If he knabs the duties from Lomax at all I’ll reassess, but I’m not sure the output will be there in the meantime.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Tallis Duncan ($321,600)

Missed the Bunnies bench, pass.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

Jack Hetherington (2RF-FRF, $267,400)


Cheapie rating: 1/10

Thomas Mikaele (FRF, $238,900)

Starred in both Cowboys trials, although he did do damage late in the Raiders game against a weakened outfit.

The injury to Coen Hess, and departure of Luciano Leilua at the Cowboys will open up game time somewhere at the Cowboys.

He has a decent offload and can bust a tackle, but I am aware that late trial cameos don’t tend to equate to the NRL.

Team lists for round 1 will be vital, and I am warming to him a bit.

Mikaele only just got added as a top 30 player at the Cowboys after the weekend’s performance.

The rating could soar by Tuesday though so watch this space.

Cheapie rating: 5/10

Nick Cotric (CTW, $274,000)

Not expected to play round 1, or at least once Seb Kris returns round 2.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

Dylan Egan (2RF, $204,300)


Cheapie rating: 1/10

Chanel Harris-Tavita (HFB, $238,900)

Will only become relevant if named to start at five-eighth, which looks unlikely.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

Tyran Wishart (5/8-HFB, $238,900)


Cheapie rating: 2/10

Jack Howarth ($238,900, 2RF)

Only relevant if starting for the Storm, which looks unlikely at this stage based on Craig Bellamy’s reluctance to use him.

If he can jag a starting spot, lock and load.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

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Taine Tuaupiki (FLB-CTW, $277,700)

I actually don’t mind Tuaupiki as a buy if, and only if, we are scraping the barrell for cheapies once teams drop on Tuesday.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is out the first three or four rounds, so Tuaupiki is expected to start at fullback provided they do leave RTS at centre.

With three decent games early, he could average 50 and make some good cash.

The problem is once CNK returns he’s back to reserve grade, so I don’t love it, but there’s potential to be the best of a bad bunch.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Benjamin Te Kura (FRF, $204,300)


Cheapie rating: 1/10

James Schiller (CTW, $238,900)

Poor job security even if named at centre for round 1.

Once Seb Kris returns in round 2 he’d lose the spot.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

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Kai Pearce-Paul (2RF, $345,000)

The Englishman is likely to share edge back-row minutes with Dylan Lucas, on the dominant Knights left edge too.

If 2RF wasn’t so flushed with quality mid-range buys I’d actually consider him early on.

If anything happened to Lucas or Frizell, KPP would likely start and comes into a tonne of Supercoach teams.

I can see myself owning at some stage this year.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Tommy Talau (CTW, $287,600)

Missed the Manly team in Vegas, pass.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

Liam Knight (FRF, $332,800)

I know somebody has to get decent minutes at the Dogs, I’m just not sure it’ll be Knight.

He’s averaged a tick over one point per minute in recent years, which isn’t great for limited game time.

He averaged 33 points in 32 minutes last season, so I’d need to see him playing probably 40+ to become relevant.

He very well may, but even then I’m not overly excited.

I’m happy to reassess come round 3 if he’s killing it.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Haze Dunster (CTW, $238,900)

Could land on the wing for the Eels with Sivo suspended until round 3.

Despite that, job security is poor.

Sivo will return and take the spot, and Dunster may not even get the nod for round 1.

I can see why he’d be tempting early with in a great spot on the Eels left edge if he does indeed get it, but likely not for me.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

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Kobe Hetherington (2RF, $298,600)

Hetherington is likely to be relevant at some stage this year, but he’ll need an injury in the starting side to do so.

He could be a play around the Origin period at the absolute latest when Payne Haas and Pat Carrigan leave for Origin duties.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

Myles Martin (FRF-2RF, $204,300)

People are obviously buying Martin as a nuff which I don’t love, but if that’s how you play Supercoach and want to free up that cash early he looks a decent play to do so with dual 2RF-FRF positioning.

Cheapie rating: 1/10

Karl Lawton (2RF-HOK, $238,900)


Cheapie rating: 2/10

Keano Kini ($287,900, FLB)

Jayden Campbell will only miss a few rounds and should replace Kini on return.

Also, only being available at FLB not CTW is a killer.


Cheapie rating: 3/10

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The rest in no particular order

Ata Mariota (FRF, $255,900)

I’m actually a little surprised Mariota hasn’t been spoken about a bit more.

He’s highly regarded at the club, was strong last season and looked the goods in trials.

I think for a few rounds he’ll score well and get enough time to be relevant, the issue is of course the return of Corey Horsburgh in round 3 which will eat into his time.

Cheapie rating: 6/10

Davy Moale (FRF, $268,500)

Moale actually could have been a sneaky little cash generator at FRF, however the four middle forward bench at the Bunnies for the Vegas clash is a killer.

If Peter Mamouzelos comes onto the bench at any stage it’ll change the prospects of all the Bunnies forward.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

Lachlan Galvin ($204,300, 5/8)

Does the 18-year-old nab a round 1 spot at the Tigers?

The hype on the kid is huge, and he didn’t look out of place in their trial.

He can play numerous positions and could be an unlikely selection.

Realistically he’d have to start in the halves to be Supercoach relevant, which seems unlikely, but possible…

With the Tigers round 1 bye I think it’s way too risky to start him, but round 2 could make for an interesting set of trades if he does get a spot.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

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Poasa Faamausili (FRF, $238,900)

Looked destructive for the Bulldogs in the trials, and there’s minutes to go around in the middle, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Faamausili be decent early FRF plug.

However, his motor looked an issue in trials, so I want to see him play minutes before buying.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

Fletcher Baker (FRF, $320,000)

Another who could be a low-key decent FRF pick early on, but like Faamausili I don’t think he’ll get the minutes to be relevant.

Cheapie rating: 4/10

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Kulikefu Finefeuiaki (2RF, $292,700)

Needs a Cowboys edge back-rower to go down injured, in which case we have a devastating Supercoach cheapie on our hands.

Cheapie rating: 2/10

Jacob Alick (2RF, $265,500)

May get named on the edge for the Titans, but he’ll on be warming the spot for David Fifita’s return.

Cheapie rating: 3/10

Danny Levi (HOK, $238,900)

Ali Leiataua (FLB-CTW, $238,900)

Michael Asomua (CTW, $204,300)

Jacob Laban (2RF, $204,300)

Will Pryce (FLB, $345,000)

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